Judge: Dad accused of killing daughter can't attend her funeral

Published: Jan. 16, 2014 at 4:51 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 16, 2014 at 10:24 PM EST
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Deandre Kelley appeared in Hamilton County Municipal Court Thursday.
Deandre Kelley appeared in Hamilton County Municipal Court Thursday.

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - A Hamilton County judge on Thursday rejected a Sedamsville man's request to attend the funeral of his 11-year-old daughter who authorities say was fatally shot by her father.

Also on Thursday, a Hamilton County grand jury indicted the father -- 34-year-old Deandre Kelley -- on four felonies.

Kelley was indicted on one count each of involuntary manslaughter, reckless homicide, endangering children and having a weapon under disability. The weapons charge is because Kelley has a prior conviction from Kentucky for possession of cocaine, the Hamilton County Prosecutor's Office said.

If convicted of all charges, Kelley faces 17 years in prison.

The indictment stems from a shooting Sunday.

Cincinnati Police responded at approximately 3 a.m. Sunday to 800 Delhi Avenue in Sedamsville to reports of shots fired with an injury. Achauntiara "Shanti" Lanza, 11, lived there with her mother, siblings and Kelley. Police found the girl suffering from a gunshot wound to the upper torso. She was transported to Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center where she was pronounced dead.

Prosecutors say at approximately 8 p.m. last Saturday (five hours before the shooting), Kelley and the victim's mother argued because he had brought a gun into the home. Shanti was having a slumber party that evening and several additional children were at the residence.

Shanti's mother ordered Kelley out of the house because children were there. Kelley left the residence and went drinking with a friend, prosecutors say. When Kelley returned at 3 a.m. with the gun, he was under the influence of alcohol. Kelley knocked on the residence's door and children let him inside.

The victim's mother was sleeping upstairs. Prosecutors say as Kelley entered the residence, he turned and fired a shot out of the front door. At that point, Shanti ran upstairs to tell her mother about the gun.

Shanti's mother went downstairs and ordered Kelley to leave. As Kelley departed, he fired two more shots. One of those shots hit Shanti who was hiding in an upstairs bedroom.

Kelley has three prior domestic violence charges involving the victim's mother which were dismissed when the victim's mother failed to appear in court.

"There has been a lot of public discussion that the system failed this family," Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters said. "This defendant has been charged with domestic violence three times and was never convicted because the witness would not cooperate.

"Now, in an incredibly senseless act, he has killed his daughter and the mother wants him to attend the funeral. This is the end of the road for this enabling. He needs to be in jail and the rest of them should be looking in the mirror for the reason this little girl is dead."

Kelley wanted to be released from the Hamilton County Justice Center Saturday to attend Shanti's funeral from 10 a.m. to noon.

Shanti's family supported Kelley being allowed to attend the service, according to a motion filed by attorney Hugh P. McCloskey Jr. The motion said Kelley can't afford to post his $500,000 bond. The motion also said Kelley would be under law enforcement supervision at the service.

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